Rock of Ages

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Big old storms rolled through last night and we are soaked. The forecast is for rain for the next 4 or 5 days and I’m going to see if our old raft will still hold air. Sounds crazy I know, but look at what those folks out in Texas have been through. I bet some of them wish they’d blown up their raft and had it ready before the high water struck. While it’s true, trailers will float, they’re real hard to steer.

It was such a dark and gloomy day, I almost looked forward to catching the telecast from The Full Gospel Original Church of God. Mulva has reported to me that after last week’s initial telecast, the phones rang off the hook at Channel 99 in Blairsville. People from all over the mountains were wanting to know how to get to the church. Folks in television land were calling in and wanting to know if the show was real, or a bunch of actors acting out a story. There were even people wanting to know if there were more shows during the week, and best of all, people called in wanting to know where to send their donations.

I had jokingly told Mulva that the Reverend Helen Handbasket had left out the most important part of any religious ceremony, asking for money, when she asked me what I thought of the show. My attempt at humor was met with a stern look and a, “You better watch yourself, mister”, from my lovely wife. Turns out, I was right, and the folks in TV land knew how they were supposed to act. The calls to Channel 99 in Blairsville confirmed my conviction that the folks who felt inspired by the Reverend Helen Handbasket’s efforts knew they were supposed to give a little something of themselves to receive the full benefit of the blessing.

As you can imagine, the Elders of the church were quick to correct their oversight. This week’s TV service ended with a full minute of text over the visual of the Reverend Helen Handbasket handling some of the smaller serpents. The fade to black was an advertising winner. The camera was at a low angle to capture the lights shining through the Reverend Helen Handbasket’s flowing red hair. The shot captured enough of the snakes to be interesting, but not scary. The text message was simple:

“If you have been touched by this service of The Full Gospel Original Church of God, help us continue our outreach to the people in our area by contributing whatever you can afford to:

The Full Gospel Original Church of God

P.O. Box 999

Nunsuch, Ga. 30524 “

Marketing genius. “Whatever you can afford” is so open-ended and yet non-invasive. I will be very interested to get the reports from Mulva as to what the televangelism component brings in. As secretary of the church, Mulva makes the weekly deposits for the church. Mulva has reported a steady doubling of donations each week since the Reverend Helen Handbasket took over at The Full Gospel Original Church of God. I am predicting a quadrupling of donations from the TV shows, we’ve got a Dr. Pepper bet on it.

Whatever the tally turns out to be, it will certainly be used to expand the facility size of the little church. The addition of the “side mounted” trailer has already become too little space to accommodate the faithful. Even before the addition of the TV crew, it was already standing room only in the little sanctuary. Now with all of the new folks coming in because of the broadcast, the walls will be bursting.

Ironically, some of the original members of the church are less than pleased with the newly found popularity of their church. Members of the “amen corner” are finding they are having to arrive earlier to services to claim their “rightful” places in the pew. There has even been a bit of backbiting. Some of the righteous are claiming that people are choosing seats by virtue of their likelihood of being shown on TV. Petty stuff I know, but some folks just don’t like change, even if it’s for the good. 

By the way, this week’s service was a corker, even with the service fading in and out due to the heavy rains. The Full Gospel Original Church of God appears to have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.